Journal of Trauma Publishes Paper on Time and Place of Death From Automobile Crashes
Dr. Howard R. Champion, a surgeon who has worked to improve care for crash victims since at least 1986, has a new paper out in the Journal of Trauma (attached).
Short History of Efforts To Improve Care for Crash Victims
1980’s – By 1980 the U.S. had lost 2.2 Million Lives to Vehicle Violence Dr. Champion was co-author of the landmark 1989 Journal of Trauma paper “Trauma Triage: Vehicle Damage as an Estimate of Injury Severity”. See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2724382
At NHTSA, his work was very highly regarded and listed in CIREN Report HS 809 564 pp. 107 – 110. Available at https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/CIREN2.pdf
1990’s – By 1990 the U.S. had lost 2.7 Million Lives to Vehicle Violence Dr. Champion’s work in the 1980s contributed to the American College of Surgeons’ 1990 publication “Resources for the Optimal Care of the Injured Patient.” In 1991, NHTSA faced a mystery of an air bag fatality that turned out to be an airbag success story – albeit a tragic story. NHTSA had assigned me to manage a Congressional earmark project to build a Trauma Center in Miami, FL. A small percentage of the project funding was allocated to research on crashes, injuries, treatments and outcomes. One objective was to observe how new airbags coming into the fleet were performing. As NHTSA investigated its first air bag fatality on my project, NHTSA R&D became intensely aware of the need to improve triage, transport, and treatment decision-making for saving crash victims. The Trauma Center had not yet been built and the crash victim was transported to the massive Jackson Memorial Hospital. The crash victim had been in a very high severity multiple impact crash in a 1991 Volvo traveling at an estimated 60 mph into a traffic control box and then into a concrete pole. He was unbelted and weighed 323 lbs. He was initially stable. He was later taken to the operating room for seemingly correctable problems. He deteriorated, developed severe problems, found to have massive internal injuries and died of multiple organ system failure.
In 1993, NHTSA published a Research Note, that I co-authored, titled “Detection of Internal Injuries in Drivers Protected by Air Bags” See p. 37 at https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/CIREN2.pdf
In 1998, the research team produced the paper on Automatic Crash Notification published in AirMed. See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/automatic-crash-notification.pdf
By 2006, under the Bush Administration, NHTSA had reassigned me to work that appeared to me to have less promising life saving potential. I thought that I should retire and work on improving care for crash victims.
By 2007, GM had funded work at CDC to remove “Rollover and Extrication” from new Triage Guidelines. See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/CFCV-MonthlyReport-March2014.pdf
By 2009, Dr. Champion had a paper published in the Journal of Trauma noting the importance of “Rollover and Extrication” in Triage Guidelines. See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/rollover_paper.pdf
By 2009, BMW had shown what was possible with Automatic Crash Notification, URGENCY software, and communications with trauma centers and air medical services. Watch video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A30fi8-muk4
2010’s – By 2010 the U.S. had lost 3.5 Million Lives to Vehicle Violence
By 2015, the NHTSA data showed that both the number and percent of fatalities counted by NHTSA that died pre-hospital exceeded those that died in hospital. See
JS Final NHTSA Vehicle Deaths GraphData Percentages States 06-15-15-1 2015 at https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/home/urgency In 2015, Dr. Champion’s paper “Time and Place of Death from Automobile Crashes” was published by the Journal of Trauma. Copy attached. It shows that time and place of death data continue to support calls for improvements in the triage, transport, and treatment decisions of people seriously injured in crashes.
By 2016, twenty five years later, – and nearly 1 million American lives lost and nearly 4 million serious injuries later – NHTSA still has not published a federal minimum vehicle safety standard FMVSS for ACN, URGENCY software, and communications and dispatch protocols to trauma centers and air medical services when crashes have a high probability of presence of serious injuries. This despite 100 deaths per day and 400 serious injuries per day in the U.S.A. today. See
- https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/MR-Strickland-NEMSAC-FICEMS.pdf and see
NHTSA has failed the American people. After 25 years, 56% of all deaths due to vehicle violence still occur without transport to any facility for emergency medical care. And of the 44% that are taken to “some” facility, not necessarily a trauma center for optimal care, many die for lack of timely and optimal care.
The science and safety technologies have been there for decades. The needless deaths and suffering continue.